Friday, May 30, 2008

Feeling grateful...

Just got home from a wonderful evening out with my good friend (we saw Sex in the City which I thought was fantastic)… and this is what I found…

I am so grateful each and every day that I met Neil, we fell in love, got married, and created these two amazing children. I often wonder how I got so lucky. I am grabbing my pillow to go sleep near them on the couch (they are in our finished basement where they were about to start MOVIE NIGHT when I left). I love this family.

"the end" by Kalli

Kalli had her last day at Kindergarten today. Yeah, it made me cry. I was stunned at just how much BIGGER and OLDER and MORE GROWN UP she seemed than she did back on the first day 9 months ago. How did that happen in just one school year? It amazes me. Here are a few photos of her on the first day in August - followed by some we took today. (On her very first day, she wore the pink hello kitty shirt, not the uniform, so we have some "first day" photos in uniform that were technically the 2nd day!) WOW. I love that I take so many photos so I can freeze time and put it side by side and appreciate the changes. We are working on pages to complete an album for her teacher and Kalli titled the last page (it will have a class photo from today) "the end". She always makes me cry a little. They have an assembly on Monday and she told me I will bawl like a baby. She knows me, huh?

I am so grateful I know how to take little steps to capture these moments before they are gone. I sure would love to see a photo of me on my first or last day of kindergarten. I cannot wait to put these into the school album.

I love these faces

How many good photos do you have of the FACES you love?? I mean REALLY good photos that capture "that look" You know the look I am talking about. The look that your family members give you once in a while and it makes your heart flutter? You get a feeling of "Oh, I hope I never forget them looking like that or making that face??" Do anything you can to capture it. They do not have to be all dressed up like my kiddos are here (they were in fancy dresses for my dad's wedding). Just take as many photos as you have to until you capture "that look". I promise you that you will never be sorry. Digital photography makes it SO EASY to shoot like 200 photos to try to get one good one. When I see the above photo of Kalli, it makes my heart race because she looks SOOOOOOOO grown up. I almost picutre her giving me "this look" over her shoulder as she proceeds to walk down the aisle at her own wedding some day. I realized in this one photo that she no longer really looks like a baby or a toddler, but a little girl who will soon look like a young lady. And, yes, I am a TOTALY SAP and that makes me cry. It is also her last day of Kindergarten today so I already cried a little today and took a bunch of photos. I will post them later next to the first day ones.... it is a STUNNING difference. I plan to get a school album started and I will put in the First and Last day of school photos every year from K through high school. In one place I will have all those memories.

And the wedding went well. It was sad and happy all rolled into one. The kids made the day happy for everyone. Dad is on his honeymoon and we are accepting that life is never what you expected it to be, but it is still very, very good.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Something to think about....

A good friend of mine, Michele from Photo Express sent me a link to this poem today and I really enjoyed it. My other good friend Danelle has really taught me this past year or two to think positive thoughts and not waste time on negative things and it really has made me a happier person every day. My best friend Shannon sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) makes fun of us, but she believes it, too. If you look for the best in things, most often you will find it. I mean, we all know terribly bad things happen to really really good people all the time - that is just the nature of life. But, how you react to it, and what you choose to spend your time thinking about REALLY impacts how you feel each day. I am also reading the short cut version of Don't Sweat The Small Stuff that I found at Hallmark (I tried to find a link, but I guess you can only get it at Hallmark Stores in the gift book section - it is 100 of the Best Inspriations from the Best-Selling Small Stuff series - the best of the best from all of Richard Carlson's awesome books!). I love that little book. Most of it is amazingly obvious -but things you really do not think about.... like, if you spend time thinking bad thoughts about someone, you could be wasting the last moments of your life on that instead of enjoying the people you love..... I just really like reading it, because it reminds me that life is NOW. I love my memories and I pray for a happy, healthy future, but today really just might be all I have. And I accept that, and I try so hard now to appreciate each moment. Anyway, this poem was fabulous so here it is:

Rules for a Perfect Day
Author: Tom Hopkins
Just for today...

I will try to live and delight in the reality of being alive. My past is forever gone, my future an uncertainty, so I will be happy and thankful for each moment.I will not allow negative input into my mind...happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy.

I will be thankful to God for my health, my loved ones, my business, and my country. I will also be thankful for any pain in crisis that helps me grow because God has said, be thankful in all things.I will take care of my body, realizing the importance of the words moderation and balance, knowing that as I bring my flesh under control, how much easier it will be to control my will and my actions.I will treat everyone I meet today the way I would like to be treated. I will strive to have them like themselves better when they’re with me.

I will avoid gossip, jealousy, and negative thinking. Most people don’t think about what they think about. Today, I will make a conscious effort to hold loving and beautiful thoughts in my mind.I will write down my priorities; thinking of my loved ones and my responsibilities. I may not get everything done, but I will do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.

I will strive to humble myself before others, controlling my ego and making other people feel important.I will spend time in study, learning how to better serve my fellowman. I know my growth in all areas is in direct proportion to the service I give to others.

I will not take rejection personally. I am first and foremost in the people business and, thus, realize they can only reject my proposal and not me. I will keep on keepin’ on.I will spend time in prayer, asking God to let others see the light of His shining love through me.
©Copyright 1976 Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Finding Joy In What Life Hands You

My dear friend Danelle Johnson has really got me to read positive books and think positive thoughts. I am going to walk my father down the aisle today to marry someone other than my Mom. It sure is NEVER a situation I thought we would be in ever. But here we are. Do you spend the rest of your life bitter and angry and missing what you always thought would be, or do you embrace he moment we are in today and be grateful Dad choose to live and try to be happy again? It is all a lesson in balance and faith. Here are some photos from the rehearsal dinner last night. The kids stole the show and that will make today wonderful.

Monday, May 19, 2008

If only my girls could have the kind of friend one day

who sends them a blender in their time of need. :) I know to the average person, that might not sound like all that big of a deal. But, to me, last week, when I really needed someone to do something to help me, my friend Shannon ordered me a blender off of (I guess it is a site that has one smoking cool thing for sale a day....). My sister was having a rough week and I needed to go there to help her. Shannon knew I needed someone to somehow help me, and she knew I needed a blender and POOF this fantastic blender showed up for a great deal on WOOT and now I own it. Well, the girls and I tested it out tonight with a Milkshake MixOff! It was a blast.
Back to the friend thing.... I pray my daughters have just one friend in their lives like Shannon. Every single day she is the type of friend I could only hope to be.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Father's Day Album Class

I just emailed out or sent to school with my daughter a bunch of invitations to create a unique, meaningful Father's Day album. I did it for Mother's Day (see post below), and people LOVED it. It ends up being a cool place to simply put 20 years of Father's Day photos right into one little place. Nothing hard or over the top, but it will become a treasured family heirloom for sure.

This is set up to be a workshop in my home on June 8, 2008 - but I can easily mail the kit out to you with instructions how to simply assemble it once your kids fill out the question sheets.... it would be the cost of the kit plus shipping.

I was so proud of how much the Moms loved this gift, and I am really excited to help Moms now create this type of memory for the dads! Email me if you are interested in a kit and I will forward you all the information. I tired to post it, but I have no clue how. Sorry about that!

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Best Mother's Day Gift I Have Ever Received"

That is what I already had SIX moms tell me about the workshop I created for Dads and Kids for Mother's Day. We made a SIMPLE album with just a few pages and one photo. They also received date cards and journaling cards from now through 2027 so all they have to do is simply take ONE photo of the mom with the kids on Mother's Day and it will end up being an incredible family heirloom full of 20 years of photos of the mom and kids on her special day!

One Mom told me she felt sad for any Mom whose husband chose not to get them this wonderful gift. She said that Flowers Die and Candy makes her Fat, and this gift will last forever. She loved it. Most of the moms thought it was just incredible. Here are some photos of what was created at the fun workshop.... if you are interested in creating this for yourself or others, please email me and I can create and ship you out a kit like this based on any holiday. Also, I just set up a Father's Day workshop so we will be doing the same thing with a cute Father's Day album. Create a gift your husband will love forever....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Motherless Daughters...

It is humbling to realize that when my Mom was alive I LOVED Mother's day. I thought it was just an awesome day to really get everyone to focus on their amazing Moms. It never ONCE entered my head how terribly sad this holiday is when your Mom is no longer with you. I feel bad for all those years I happily shopped for special, thoughtful gifts for my Mom when the person standing right next to me could be motherless. I wish I had had more compassion for those without Moms on this now sad day. And, before my Mom passed away, I honestly had this odd belief that because we were good, honest, fun, loving people that we were somehow protected from sheer tragedy. I had no concept how many terrible things happen every day to really good people. I wish I had been more aware and more compassionate towards people who might have needed it over the years. All I can say now is that if your Mom is alive - call her today. Write her a note thanking for random things she did for you over the years. Take a hint from a FANTASTIC book I just read called "An Hour To Live, An Hour To Love" and make it a point in your life to let people you love know. I know you think they know.... but do they really know why you love them so much?

I had written literally hundreds of cards, post cards, and letters to my Mom letting her know how amazing I thought she was and I constantly told her how proud and lucky I was to be her kid. I still I could go back in time and write more. It is NEVER too late to start letting people know how much you love them TODAY. Right now. Please do not wait.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Make Something Monday Take 2

Here it is, another Monday....
What are you going to do with it?
Dread it OR Make Something with it?
I am going to make a page - one page - not sure what it will even be on yet, but I am making one page! That is all I need to do, and it will make me HAPPY because I love making pages that matter. And, for some reason, knowing I am going to make a little time to Make Something Every Monday makes my heart feel very relaxed and very happy. :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

A miracle happened this week...

I am sure many miracles happened this week around the world, but I wanted to share this one with you....

Lori and Chris Coble lost their 3 children (Katie 2 years old, Emma 4 years old and Kyle had just turned 5 on May 3rd) last year on May 4th. This tragedy stuck with me in an inexplicable way. I looked at all their photos, prayed for them, sent them Angel Catchers for each child. I was stunned that this family lost everything while Mindy and I flew to a dream trip to Argentina. The mom and grandma were in the van and they survived. This family taught me a lot about patience and love and about simply LOVING the mess the kids make because they are here to make it. Since this day I have tried to simply be glad my kids are here to make the mess rather than panic about the mess they are making. There have been hundreds of times throughout the last year that I have thought "What would Lori give for this moment?" And my heart ached for them.

Lori and Chris decided early on that they could not imagine life without children, and they wanted to have another shot at being happy in this life so they did InVitro and ended up pregnant with triplets – if you can believe it – two girls and one boy. We have prayed for these children every day – just prayed that God would bring them into the world safely, and He did. He brought all three into the world this week – right before the anniversary of that awful day.
Here is the article with more information:

I just had to make sure you all knew that Lori and Chris now have three babies to love. It will never replace what was… but it sure gives them hope for happiness in the future. Please say a prayer for what you have, and for these babies being brought into the world safely this week.